New Delhi: The Delhi Police’s Special Cell is investigating the possible role of eight student leaders of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), Delhi University (DU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), in inciting communal violence in north-east Delhi in February.
Early this month, the Special Cell of the Delhi Police arrested two JMI scholars—Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar—in connection to their alleged involvement in inciting violence. However, the activists have alleged that police is arbitrarily arresting Muslim students who were actively involved in anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests and they had no link to the communal riots, but investigators from the Delhi Police’s Special Cell have maintained that both the arrested students had staged an anti-CAA protest at Jaffrabad Metro station which eventually led to a full-blown communal riot.
The Sunday Guardian has learnt that Haider, a JMI scholar and president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) youth wing of the Delhi unit, was initially called for an investigation by the Special Cell of Delhi Police on 2 April and was subsequently arrested on the same day.
After 11 days of Haider’s arrest, another JMI scholar Safoora Zargar was arrested on 13 April in the Delhi violence case.
The communal clashes that erupted on 23-24 February across north-east Delhi had claimed at least 53 lives, and hundreds suffered serious injuries.
A senior official of the Special Cell of Delhi Police told The Sunday Guardian: “We have so far investigated 20 students of JNU, DU, and JMI; many of them have come clean, but we have gathered strong evidence against 7-8 students who were part of the anti-CAA protests and also in hatching the communal riot plans in Delhi. During the course of our investigation, we have seized 28 laptops and more than 20 mobile phones.
The content in most of the laptops and mobiles are highly inflammatory and it also indicates that some of the students were closely linked in conspiring to incite violence.”
Earlier this week, police seized the mobile phone of Kawalpreet Kaur, a student activist of DU. Kaur, who is head of the Left-linked All India Students’ Association (AISA) in DU, alleged that on 27 April, the Special Cell of Delhi Police raided her home and citing the investigation, seized her mobile phone.
“I am writing this to inform you all that on Monday, 27 April, officials of the Delhi Police Special Branch came to my home to investigate the violence that happened in Delhi in February. To my utter shock, the police seized my phone, citing inquiry into the violence. It was really hard to believe that this could happen to me. As a student activist and a responsible citizen of this country, I have always spoken against all injustices in my full capacity wherever I have been. As a student of Delhi University, I remained active in mobilising students against the attacks on public-funded institutions, social justice, and gender equality….as a student of law, I spoke against the attacks on the fundamental values of our Constitution through the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) brought by the government. I, along with my organization, the All India Students’ Association (AISA), participated in peaceful demonstrations against the CAA-NPR-NRC, along with thousands of others,” Kaur’s statement reads.
Although the Delhi Police has not said anything on record, sources closely associated with the investigation team have confirmed that Kaur’s role in organising protest outside the Jaffarbad Metro station is being probed.